The 10 Best Commercials of 2011 | Adweek
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The 10 Best Commercials of 2011

The year's most impeccable craft and storytelling in advertising
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Best of 2011, Lists

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About the Author

Tim Nudd is Senior Editor (Creative) for Adweek.

VOLKSWAGEN • The Force1


Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles • Director: Lance Acord, Park Pictures • Editing: Union • Effects: CO3

Resistance is futile. At 7:33 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, Volkswagen unleashed one of the great crowd-pleasing TV ads of all time on Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLV. "The Force," from Deutsch/ LA, ingeniously conceived and perfectly executed, more than lived up to its name. It took two familiar ad themes—kids and Star Wars—and merged them to create that most rare species: a true global (who knows, maybe intergalactic) pop-culture phenomenon. Backed by the imposing sounds of "The Imperial March," a child in a Darth Vader suit roams his suburban home, attempting to bend inanimate objects (and the family dog) to his will with Jedi mind tricks. He fails utterly—until Dad gets home in his Volkswagen Passat. The kid races out to the driveway and focuses all of his metaphysical energy on the midsize sedan. It roars to life obediently—thanks to Dad activating the remote starter from the house. The boy steps back, thunderstruck by his own supernatural powers. The spot's metrics are astounding: 44 million views on YouTube, a reported 6.8 billion impressions worldwide, more than $100 million in earned media—all from such a simple execution. The spot, while visually strong, isn't a wonder of craft or technique. It's a triumph of fun, unadorned storytelling, which clearly goes a long way. Few ads in history have been as charming, as clever, as perfectly paced, or as well loved as this. Simply the best of 2011.

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